Share story

Perhaps being booted from two teams in two years and admitting to a substance-abuse problem scared NBA teams away from Robert Upshaw, who wasn’t among the 60 players selected in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Or maybe a heart condition that was detected at last month’s NBA combine had something to do with the 7-foot shot-blocking phenom going undrafted despite many draft analysts projecting him as a second-round pick.

Whatever the reason, the former record-breaking Washington Huskies center didn’t do enough to tempt one of the 30 NBA teams to use a draft pick on him. The 21-year-old redshirt sophomore was one of two notable Pac-12 underclassmen players who was not taken; the other was Arizona junior forward Brandon Ashley.

According to Shams Charania, who covers the NBA for, Upshaw will start his professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer team.

A few months ago, Upshaw appeared to be a sure-fire first-round pick. He set the UW season shot-blocking record with 85 in just 19 games and was literally the biggest reason UW was 14-5 before his dismissal Jan. 26. Upshaw led UW with 8.2 rebounds per game and was third on the team with 10.9 points per game, shooting 59.3 percent from the field.

Without him, the Huskies lost 10 of their next 12 games. They finished 16-15 overall and 5-13 in the Pac-12.

Few doubt Upshaw’s basketball abilities. With him, UW was a defensive juggernaut. He had the largest wingspan among draft prospects at 7-feet-5 1/2 inches. According to one Eastern Conference scout, Upshaw has “defensive skills that you can plug into any team in this league.”

However, the same scout noted: “I don’t know how much he loves basketball.”

The Lakers apparently will get the first chance to determine if Upshaw has an immediate future in the NBA. Los Angeles is scheduled to appear in the Las Vegas Summer League, which begins July 10 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus.


— Four Pac-12 players were taken in the first round and three in the second. Last year, six players from the conference were taken in the opening round and three in the second round.

— The Orlando Magic selected former Eastern Washington guard Tyler Harvey with the No. 51 pick overall in the second round. He’s the first Eagle selected since Rodney Stuckey in 2007.


Stanley Johnson Arizona Detroit 8
Delonte Wright Utah Toronto 20
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Arizona Portland 23
Kevon Looney UCLA Golden State 30
Anthony Brown Stanford LA Lakers 34
Joseph Young Oregon Indiana 43
Norman Powell UCLA Toronto 46